OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

‘Powered by Orange’ earns honors among American, Canadian campuses

05/26/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. – “Powered by Orange,” Oregon State University’s year-old promotional campaign, has captured the attention of Beaver Nation and many others in higher education. The iconic effort has also now earned two of the highest honors that communications work can receive from one of the world’s largest education associations.

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has notified OSU that Powered by Orange has won a “Circle of Excellence” Grand Gold award for best advertising campaign and a Gold award for best uses of social media. The Circle of Excellence prizes recognize excellence among colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. Globally, CASE counts 3,400 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international school in 59 countries among its members.

The PBO campaign competed against entries from around the United States and Canada that, like Powered by Orange, had won prizes in regional CASE competition. The Grand Gold is the highest honor bestowed by CASE.

“The response of OSU supporters around the nation to this campaign has been both gratifying and helpful in teaching us new ways to engage with individuals whose interests and affiliations with the university vary widely,” said Luanne Lawrence, vice president of University Advancement for OSU.  “With the world of communications increasingly influenced if not driven by social media, we’ve been mindful about developing a vibrant, current presence in this arena, while continuing to engage in traditional media. Powered by Orange offers powerful examples of the reach and impact of the range of those communications.”

PBO advertising responsible for the Grand Gold award ranged from Portland Max-Train cars wrapped entirely in the characteristic orange campaign logo to mini-campaigns on Facebook to a television ad spotlighting students engaged in research contributing to clean water, food production and renewable energy.  The latter not only was prominent during televised OSU football games last fall, but has drawn thousands of views on YouTube, where it is part of the Oregon State channel.

Work that led to the Gold medal for social media illustrates OSU’s increasing use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more. Since the launch of the campaign, PBO has amassed nearly 9,500 Facebook “friends,” who have made comments or posts, viewed photos or accessed pages some 44,000 times.  PBO videos posted on the OSU YouTube channel – 84 in all – have been seen 220,327 times. Posts on the PBO blog have generated nearly 131,000 views, and the PBO Twitter account (655 followers, at last count) is supported by a legion of related accounts that both contribute to and amplify Powered by Orange messages to thousands of followers around the country and world.

OSU’s integration of those disparate social media tools into the university’s communications strategy has earned the campaign its highest praise, though. Higher education digital media guru Michael Stoner calls Powered by Orange ““the most comprehensive university social-marketing campaign that we’ve seen to date.” It earned an EduStyle Award last fall for “best integration of social media.” And Mashable.com, the dominant social media guide, called PBO an exemplary way of “collaboration and connecting with students.”

To learn more about the Powered by Orange campaign, visit it online, where examples of PBO advertising and links to social media can be found throughout the site.